I’m more than a week into my gastroenterology placement, which has so far swept me off my feet to the point where I’ve forgotten to write. Reading a book a week is still going brilliantly and is acting as an excellent means of relaxing. Trust me, I need it.
In addition to having the opportunity to watch an ERCP, observe an ascitic tap, sit in on a BBV clinic, and attend/assist with numerous ward rounds, I’ve learned a little about where some of our most useful gastro discoveries have come from.
In a weird fit of naivety, I’ve sometimes believed that scientific discoveries are gleaned through arduous trial and error processes. As it turns out, there’s less of this sitting in a lab and brainstorming business and more accidental discoveries that are aided by a little bit of common sense. During my undergrad degree, I was lectured by a lady who decided to look into the use of maggots in wound healing. She’s since gone on to synthesise the excrement they produce, which has great antibiotic AND antifungal properties. This practice was abandoned and then returned once we’d discovered antibiotics, hammered the shit out of them, built resistance, and started thinking “Oh crap what next?”
As it turns out, there are a couple more highly useful – and slightly more common – medical practices we’e derived from odd places…